Staying Safe Around Water

Drowning can happen in as little as 30 seconds, in only 2 inches of water. The National Drowning Prevention Alliance says drowning is the single leading cause of death for children ages 1-4 and the second leading cause of injury-related death for children up to age 14. The U.S. has an average of 11 deadly drownings per day and an average of 22 non-fatal drownings per day.

The National Drowning Prevention Alliance has 5 layers of protection that they recommend to keep children safe around water.

  1. Barriers that limit access and alarms that alert you – There are many things you can do. Put a fence around the pool or body of water. Lock the gate when not in use. Prevent children from being able to climb over the fence when you’re not looking. Pool covers are also an option. There are many types of alarms that are available to use on a door, window, gate, water surface, water subsurface, on the body (alarm sounds when the body gets wet), and perimeter alarms.
  2. Close, constant, and capable supervision – Whether you are using the water or not, make sure you know where children are at all times. If infants or toddlers are around water, an adult should always be “an arm’s length” away. If you are having a party near water, pick a “Water Watcher” and take turns so that someone is always watching the water at all times.
  3. Water competency and the skills to survive – Everyone should learn how to swim! “Research shows that children ages 1–4 can cut their drowning risk by 88% if enrolled in formal lessons.”
  4. Life jackets when appropriate – Make sure you use life jackets that have been tested and approved. Look for the United States Coast Guard badge to be sure. Do not rely on life jackets so much that a child learning to swim is delayed.
  5. Responding to aquatics emergencies – Learn how to spot an emergency and how to respond right. Call for help right away. Learn proper rescue techniques. Learn CPR and First Aid. If a child is missing, check the water.

Talk to your child about the dangers of water and how to stay safe in and around it from a young age.

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